Fivefold Ministry Motivation – Part Four

We are looking at ministry motivations for all who minister but especially for fivefold ministers of the Gospel … And the third motivation we want to look at is that we must understand, as leaders and ministers, that we must have the heart of a servant.

Jesus condemned the self-seeking ambition of the Pharisees who brought attention to their position as leaders. He advocated a different way of thinking entirely by saying, “The greatest among you will be your servant” (Matthew 23:11).

Ministry is not for “getting.” Ministry is for “giving.” If a leader is in the ministry for what it does for him, he is using and abusing ministry. If he is using ministry to fulfill his own needs, it will only be a matter of time until he begins to use the people he is ministering to. And, when a leader begins using authority for his own benefit, it almost always becomes abusive authority.

Serving is giving out of a posture of strength. Jesus served out of an inner strength. He knew who He was, where He was coming from and where He was going. He was totally confident and secure in who He was. A secure minister will serve in any way that is needed because he is secure. Servanthood is not a position, it is a condition and posture of the heart. Leadership is not the brass ring to be grasped, and once you have it you don’t need to serve any more. Serving is the very thing that gives you authority to be a leader. Once you lose your heart to serve, you have given up your right to be in authority.

Our need for security, fulfillment, a sense of accomplishment, success, appreciation, self-value and worth must come from God and our relationship with Him. It cannot come from titles, who we work for, or what we do.

When Jesus washed His disciples’ feet in John 13, He was really saying, “Do you know what I am doing? I am greater than you, but I am willing to serve you.” Jesus wants us to follow His example.

The people God calls and places in leadership do not strive for a leadership position or title. However, once they have that role of authority, they do not back down, but assume the responsibility the Lord places upon them and so fulfill that call on their lives. If a person wants authority, don’t give it to him. If he wants responsibility, give it to him with authority.

God is not looking for people who need authority to feel goos about themselves, rather He is looking for people who feel good about themselves and want to help others in the Name of Jesus.

Godly leadership is not something to be grasped, but once it is given, it is not to be taken lightly. Moses did not strive to lead the children of Israel. In fact, he tried a number of times to get out of it citing numerous excuses to the point where God was upset with him. Many of us have done the same. Many try to convince Jesus that He is asking the wrong thing of the wrong person. Eventually you must learn to accept the things that the Lord is asking you to do, even though they may be stretching you. Then you will find that the pressure of that ministry or task will drive you closer to the Lord. When you are asked to do something that is beyond your natural capabilities or level of expertise, it causes us to pray more, spend more time at the feet of Jesus listening to His instructions. Ministry draws us to the Lord because we realize that without Him, we would have absolutely no ministry.

More on this point tomorrow…

Fivefold Ministry Motivation – Part Three

The second motivation for all ministry, especially the ministry of fivefold ministers, is to understand that our soul purpose is to please God.

In addition to understanding that the Holy Spirit is doing the work and not us, we must be motivated in ministry to please God. Like Jesus, we can be at a place of security in our lives where praise and criticism have the same effect on us – nothing! I strive for that place of ministry where I am out to please only God and I am not a man-pleaser. Jesus’ sole purpose was to please His Heavenly Father, God. “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6:38).

We see some of the most distressing verses in the Bible in John 12:42-43 where leaders were more concerned with what people thought than with pleasing God. “Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.” These individuals missed everything the Lord had for them because they were more concerned about what man thought than about what God thought.

In stark contrast, Paul and Barnabas are examples of those who were not concerned with what people thought of them. They refused to receive the “praises of men” in Acts 14 where the miraculous happened and people were healed.

Acts 14:11-15, 18 “And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, ‘The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.’ …Even with these words they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them.”

However, it is rather interesting to see what transpires just after the crowd wanted to worship them as gods. Verse 19 says:

“But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead.”

One moment Paul and Barnabas were treated like gods, and the next Paul was stoned as a heretic. People are finicky. People left Jesus’ ministry, and probably they will leave ours. That’s why we cannot seek people’s praises, but rather the Lord’s. Whether they were admiring him or trying to kill him, Paul had the same abiding assurance. He was confident and secure in the fact that he was speaking the Word of the Lord and fulfilling the call that was on his life.

Fivefold Ministry Motivation – Part Two

To minister with the right motivation we discovered that we need to understand that it is the Holy Spirit ministering in and through us. Without the power of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives our efforts at ministry will be done in the flesh and thus ineffective. So, we need a clear understanding of grace, God’s grace, if we are to minister supernaturally by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Remember the grape-picking labourers in Matthew 20? They complained and wondered why everyone got paid the same for varying hours of labour because they didn’t understand the grace of God. If we question why God gives some people greater talents and abilities than others, we have not understood the grace of God. If we think we are a better worship leader than someone else or a better teacher than someone, we are falling short of God’s grace.

It is so important to refrain from comparing ourselves with others. We should only compare ourselves with the Word of God and allow the Word to dwell in us so we can live out the principles of grace in our lives. If we feel like we are doing better than others, we fall into pride. If we feel like we are doing worse than those around us, we can suffer from feelings of inferiority. When we compare ourselves to others, we are not wise, according to 2 Corinthians 10:12. Neither pride nor inferiority are grace-filled responses.

When God uses some else for a certain ministry or responsibility and we are not called into action, how do we respond? When we begin to compare ourselves to other people, we are falling short of the grace of God. God is God. He knows best what we need. He may give somebody one gift and another a different type of gift. Understanding and walking in the grace of God we have received will permeate our total being and way of thinking. It changes our attitudes, causing us to want to grow spiritually so that we can help and serve those around us with the grace and gifts that He has blessed us with.

Jesus clearly told the disciples in John 14:10 that it is “…the Father, living in Me, who is doing His work.” When great things happen, it is the power of God working through us!

Jesus also said in Mark 16:17, that the miraculous will follow those who believe. I used to think that He was speaking to those who believed in the miraculous, and that is partially true.

However, I also believe that what Jesus was implying here is referenced back to John 14:10. When great things happen in ministry, it is because the Father is doing the works through us. We can never take the credit for what God does. We are totally dependent on the Lord living in us to do anything.

There is safety and freedom in realizing that it is God doing the work and not ourselves. Think of it – if we do not take the credit when Jesus moves powerfully and changes a person’s life, then we do not have to take the blame when nothing happens! That relieves all the pressure of ministry. I don’t have to try and make something happen. If the Father isn’t doing anything, I don’t need to do anything. Sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves. Christians are to enjoy life, to live it “abundantly” as Jesus said. If I am under pressure to perform in ministry, most of the fun of ministry is removed. After awhile, I will become a slave to the ministry by always trying to make something happen. True ministry is allowing the Holy Spirit to move through us.

As fivefold ministers, part of our ministry description is to create an atmosphere where the Holy Spirit can work or prepare people’s hearts so that He can move freely in their lives, raising their expectations, desires, and level of faith to the place where they are open and expecting to see God move. Only an insecure individual will try to draw people and ministry to themselves. Our goal as fivefold ministers should be to point people to Jesus, assisting Him in ministering to them. If the Lord can minister what He needs to minister to an individual without me, so much the better. People may forget what I tel them, but they are prone to remember what the Lord speaks to their hearts.

The number one motivation in ministry is to point people to Jesus so that He gets the credit for all the good that happens. Obviously, God uses people and as a fivefold minister, it is truly a privilege and blessing to be used by the Lord in people’s lives. All in all, my excitement comes not from the fact that I am the one ministering, but that the Lord is ministering to them through me. All by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Fivefold Ministry Motivation – Part One

Sometimes as fivefold ministry leaders, ministry can go to our heads. We become more excited about ministry than the One for whom we are ministering. When the seventy disciples in Luke 10 returned to Jesus exuberant with joy because “even the demons were subject” to them, Jesus rejoiced with them by saying, “I saw Satan fall like lightening…” Nevertheless, He also wanted them to keep a clear perspective, so He continued, “Do not rejoice in this that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Jesus emphasized that the greatest cause for rejoicing was not the momentary victory over the supernatural enemy, but the eternal triumph they had as citizens of heaven.

While we should be excited about what we do for Jesus in His Name, our real joy is found in the fact that we are children of the King. Whether He decides to use us or not has little bearing on the fact that we are important in the Kingdom and to the King.

If we begin to draw value and self-worth from our ministry rather than from Jesus, we have missed a major key in understanding the proper motivation for ministry. After a while, ministry begins to fill a void in our lives, and our motivation becomes tainted. Before long, we approach ministry from the perspective of what it does for us rather than obedience to the King. When we use ministry this way, people will feel devalued. When people feel devalued we have misrepresented the One who sent us. When we misrepresent the One who sent us, we have failed.

God is watching you! Do you have a desire to be used of the Lording great ways? I do. I want to be used by Him in any way that He would see fit to advance His Kingdom. God sees how we respond to individuals, situations, and opportunities. Do we pray as fervently for the ordinary person as we do for the distinguished and renowned individual? Do we show the same compassion for the hurting person in a western nation as in a developing nation? Do we minister wholeheartedly whether there are 25 in attendance or 250? We should.

Mother Teresa’s response to ministry was simple. She said, “We are called upon not to be successful but to be faithful.” When we are involved in ministry, especially the fivefold ministry, since it represents Christ Himself and His fivefold ministry He fulfilled while ministering for three years before the Cross, obedience and faithfulness should be the guiding forces in our entire ministry.

For this to be an actuality in our lives and ministry we must remember:

1> That it is the Holy Spirit doing the work through us

This aspect alone should keep us humble as the Lord uses us in ministry. In Mark 16, the Great Commission commands believers to go into the entire world. As we go, the Lord promises great signs will follow us. When God begins to use us and pours out His Spirit, we cannot make the mistake of thinking that we are overly important. Merely because we pray for someone and God answers by a display of His supernatural power does not mean we should begin to “think more highly of ourselves the we ought” (Romans 12:3). We are vessels of clay, and without the power of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives our efforts are ineffective. We need a clear understanding of God’s grace as found in and through Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church to keep a correct motivation while ministering
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We will look at the grace component of our ministry and thus understand more regarding what our true motivation for all and any ministry must be tomorrow…

The Bible – The Word of God

To establish your faith as a Christian and a disciple of Jesus you must begin at the beginning. And, the beginning when it comes to knowing God personally and living a life pleasing to Him is to know your Bible.

Keep in mind that the Bible is not a book of philosophy, although it is philosophical. Do not go to the Bible for a scientific treatise. However, there is no discrepancy between ascertained facts of science and the Bible. The Bible is not a book of history, but is found to be accurate when recording history. The Bible was given to man from God, revealing Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and God the Son, the only Saviour. Read more

Qualifications of a Fivefold Minister – Conclusion

After all of these qualifications, we may ask ourselves whether anyone is ever fully equipped and ready. This is a pretty big bill to fill. I know that for me personally, I have not fully arrived in all of these areas, but I am headed in the right direction. They key is that the fivefold person is accountable in each of these areas. He is open to correction and adjustment and lives his life in such a way that he is approachable with those to whom he has submitted his life. I even ask those that I am accountable to, on occasion, if they have any input for my life, especially concerning the areas that I may be weak in.

As we move on to examine the way the church that Jesus is building is structured, I would like to mention one more thing. One of the dangers for a fivefold minister, when the Lord starts to use him in greater ways, is for him to begin to think he is something special, above the rest of the crowd. The truth is we are all special in the eyes of the Lord. I like to tell people that when the Lord starts to use them, they are really “up there.” In fact, they are right up there – with Balaam’s donkey! The Lord used a lowly donkey to speak His word to Balaam. The Lord can use anyone and anything at anytime to accomplish His purposes, to speak His heart and to bring input and influence into a situation. So, remain humble and simply serve Jesus and is people.

Character is a qualifier to be in a place of leadership.

 

Qualifications of a Fivefold Minister – Part Eleven

Fivefold ministers love Jesus and see others through the filter of His love. Simply said, fivefold ministers are deeply in love with Jesus. They know deep inside that Jesus loves them passionately and unconditionally and extends His lavish love to others.

People feel comfortable around godly fivefold ministers because they are able to relate to people from all walks of life. For example, a young man was in a service where I was ministering. He had a very strange haircut, many facial piercings, and dressed differently than anyone else in the service. After the service, I talked with him at length showing genuine love and concern. I seem to be drawn to people who are somewhat weird and different. I like to say “hi” to them whether in a service or on the street. And, I have found that almost with our excepting, people are all pretty much the same. They all have fears, hurts, needs, and are longing for someone to accept them just as they are.

Within weeks of that service this young man moved from that city to my city and joined our church. He was amazed that I could look past his dress code and piercings and that I had treated him like a normal human being. He was amazed that I could show him that he was valuable to God and to me and that I looked him in the eye throughout our limited time and conversation together. I am convinced that many people with their outrageous dress code or behaviour are really just saying, “Please notice me.” One of the worse things we can do is ignore them. Jesus would never ignore them – He would love on them. So should we as fivefold ministers representing the ministry of Jesus in the church and in the world today. Fivefold ministers let people know that we care about them and that Jesus loves them unconditionally.

And last but not least… A fivefold minister has endurance. A fivefold minister sees the big picture and does not give up easily when the going gets tough. Hebrews 12:1 states, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

The Christian life is to be run in such a way as to get the prize. “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it” (1 Corinthians 9:24). A fivefold minister stays in the race and does not get sidelined by problems that life or ministry throws at him. One of the greatest acts of spiritual warfare is to not quit, but to keep pressing on to the end.

Qualifications of a Fivefold Minister – Part Ten

As we complete this series on the qualifications for fivefold ministers we see that they must be “full of the Holy Spirit.

The qualifications for a leader are challenging, and in fact, daunting. Without the Holy Spirit empowerment through the Baptism in the Holy Spirit a leader cannot succeed! It is only by being empowered and being full of the Holy Spirit’s presence and power that anyone, including fivefold ministers, can walk in victory and live an overcoming lifestyle. Galatians 5:16-18 reminds us, “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” When we try to lead in our own strength, we can easily fall flat on our faces, but being full of the Holy Spirit will empower us to do what we can’t manage to do on our own.

The fivefold minister must know that he is called by God. God sovereignly calls a fivefold minister into His service. If God calls, He equips the individual for the task because the Lord “has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace” (2 Timothy 1:9).

A fivefold minister knows that God has called him, not man. If he is appointed without God’s affirmation in his spirit, he will not have the grace from God to face the hard times, and the good times will be meaningless to him. Paul was clear about his calling to spiritual leadership – he knew that God had called him (Galatians 1:1). Because he knew it was the Lord that called him, it was up to the Lord to prepare the way for him.

Sometimes we run ahead of the Lord and try to make a way for ourselves. Proverbs says a man’s gift makes room for him. It doesn’t say a man should make room for his gift. When you know you are called by the Lord, you do not have to strive to make something happen. I like what William Carey said many years ago. “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.” There is a role that He plays, and there is action that is required on our part to bring about greater honour, praise, and glory to Him.

Intentionally and Actively Engaged

In the Bible there is the mention of a group of people called The Bereans

These people lived in the city of Berea …

A city in the nation of Macedonia

Above the nation of Greece

East of Albania Read more

Qualifications of a Fivefold Minister – Part Nine

One of the most important character traits of a fivefold minister is that they are not a new convert. Fivefold leaders should not be newly saved but actually have a lengthy history with God. When spiritual babies are given adult roles, they may become conceited. Spiritual growth and some level of maturity must always precede responsibility.

Healthy leaders depend on God’s grace and power to do the job assigned to them. So, it is good to start a person who has leadership qualities and a possible fivefold call on their live doing something small in ministry. Often this can be a leadership role in a home group or even a home church. If we are faithful in little, then we will be found faithful in much (Matthew 25:21).

There is no chronological age requirement foe a fivefold leader, but maturity can be developed through life experiences. A.W. Tozer said; “It is not life’s circumstances that make a man, it is man’s response to life’s circumstances that determine what kind of a man he will become.” A mature fivefold minister has learned how to respond properly to life’s circumstances over the years.

A fivefold minister is also willing to be tested. A leader realizes that there will be tests as the Bible says “…many are called but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). Many leaders who are rightly called by God fail the test of leadership and are no longer in leadership today. We learn from James 1:2-4 that the trials of life will either draw us closer to Jesus or drive us away from Jesus. God allows fivefold ministers to go through tests to see how they will respond under pressure. By their response, they either qualify or disqualify themselves.

In the Church, leaders are sometimes harshly tested. When the pressure is on, what will they do? The true test of a leader is the way he responds and reacts to adverse situations. Wherever you are and whatever you are going through today is always training for what the Lord has for you tomorrow.

A fivefold minister also has the heart of a servant. Jesus by nature is a servant and He is looking for those who have a servant’s heart (Matthew 20:25-28). A servant does not care about his own well being as much as he does about the one he is serving. Jesus is our ultimate role model for leadership. He led by being a servant to all those around Him. He knew who He was because of His intimate relationship with His Father, and out of that relationship, He ministered to others’ needs. From God’s perspective, leaders and servants are synonymous in the Body of Christ. In the world’s system, leaders are expected to dominate those under them, but God has called leaders to follow the example of His Son, and be servants. My sense of value and worth cannot come from what I do or who I am serving, it comes from me knowing who I am and more importantly from the fact that when I am serving another individual I am really serving the Lord.